A company with deep local roots and projects underway around the world is on a hiring binge.
The engineering giant Fluor has hired about 250 people in the last year for the Greenville office and needs another 250 to 300 by the first quarter of 2023.
According to Annette Allen, senior vice president of global execution and general manager of the Greenville operations center, Fluor has enough prospective work to hire hundreds more but the company is being deliberate about not growing too fast.
“We stay pretty stable in the 1,400 (employee) range and we’re in the 1,550 to 1,600 range right now,” she said. “With our backlog that’s already in house we need probably 250 or 300 by the first quarter of next year. And if you look at the prospects we have in the backlog and put some level of ‘go-get’ to them, that number could be as much as 500 or 600. So you try to look at this with caution and not get too over exuberant because we also want to have a sustainable growth as well and I think we have done that pretty successfully over the past decade.”
The available jobs are across a range of disciplines and across industry segments served by Fluor, including mining and metals; government; infrastructure (roads, bridges, highways and rail); and life sciences and advanced manufacturing, which is especially strong right now, she said.
“It’s across the board,” Allen said. “The majority of them are engineering and architecture but we also have needs for people with business degrees and supply chain and project control (experience) and other functional groups.”
She said it’s safe to say these are well-paying jobs.
“And we’re looking for people right out of school to the most experienced people, what we call SMEs —subject matter experts,” she said. “We’re looking for the gamut: civil, structural, HVAC, electrical engineers, which are hard to find.”
Fluor continues to operate under the hybrid model adopted in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, with people working from home when they can and in the office when necessary. She said the combination of that model and the diverse nature of the work out of the Greenville office should make the jobs attractive to prospects.
The hybrid office has “not been without challenges but it’s allowed us to open the aperture and hire people for this office that aren’t in Greenville,” she said. “So we can go to a hot spot for life sciences — you know, Philadelphia, that’s a known hot spot for life sciences, or Colorado — and we can hire those people remotely. Everybody can’t be remote but we can have a blend of remote workers and hybrid workers … so we’re kind of empowering people to embrace where we are.”
“The beauty of this particular office, which is one of only a few in Fluor Corp. is that we serve all of the business lines that Fluor serves,” Allen said. “So that gives us a lot of opportunity to diversify our portfolio and to diversify people’s experience so that when the market is down (in one business line) we can slide them into another market. And for the last year, and what we’re seeing for the next, I’ll say at least sustained for a year, all of the markets are in an upward trajectory.”
Despite war, the threat of recession, inflation, elections and other factors that can cause business to slow, Allen said their markets are showing resilience. Most of the backlog for Fluor is in what the company calls ATLS — advanced technologies and life sciences. Much of it comes as companies race to bring the next blockbuster drug to market.
“If it’s a new product they will have tested the product in a pilot slab on a small scale, but then to meet the need of whatever the demand is for whatever drug it is, then our process engineers help scale it up to the right size and then we design it and we can build it and we also can validate it,” Allen said. Fluor may be hired for one or all of those jobs.
The CHIPS and Science Act, implemented by executive order of President Joe Biden in August, has created a lot of momentum in the semiconductor markets as companies take action to reshore that industry, she said, which has been a boon to Fluor, just as the growth of lithium battery development and production has.